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Even though the technique has been around for a little more than a year in Michigan, manicured shellacs are here to stay. Salons boast that the shellac will last for two weeks, much longer than the typical manicure that only lasts the weekend to five days if you're lucky. Heather Watkowski swears by the shellac as long as the technique.

"It looks outstanding, like your nails are done every single day," she says.

The process begins like any other manicure, pushing back the cuticles and smoothing over the nail beds. The nails are then covered in a clear gel material that makes the nail completely smooth and stronger. Fingers are placed underneath a UV light until they are completely dry. Next, the color gel is applied.

"There are more than fifty colors to choose from," Heather says. "But it's not something you can do at home. You need the UV light."

After each coat of shellac, fingers are placed under the UV light until they dry and harden completely. The benefit is longer lasting color.

"I can wear a French manicure shellac for a month because the color is clear," Heather says. "The only reason a shellac goes 'bad' is when the cuticles start to grow back."

Shellac manicures do not harm the integrity of the nail unless the gel is chipped away. To remove the shellac, soak finger nails in acetone.

Written by: Erika Fifelski is the West Michigan Woman magazine editorial coordinator. She was born and raised in West Michigan, and after a brief stint on the sunrise side, she's home and loving it. Erika enjoys cooking, vacuuming, and discovering new ways to live sustainably and support local businesses.

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